so i said in my last je in a response to shadow that i'd drop a quick update, so here it is.
life has been ridiculously hectic and incredibly busy. so i'm still working at the same company, but we have a new name. i'm tech leading a large project for one of the major device makers (think batwings) it's the biggest thing i've ever worked on. it's a huge project just finishing its first year. i don't get to do much coding, in fact i figure i've written less than 1% of the actual code. oh well, i still try to keep my hands dirty with whatever i can find, but managing is really a full time gig.
2 years ago i decided to pursue my masters degree (computer science) so i'm going to harvard and am about a year and a half away from finishing the degree. this semester (i only do one class per semester, which is more than enough, the sheer amount of work on top of the weekly lectures is enough exhaust most people) i'm taking mobile application development (android and ios.) it's pretty cool thought. never thought i'd actually enjoy going back to school, but alas, i do enjoy it. it's also very much a cultural thing here in boston. everyone you know takes classes, and well with my company paying 100% of my tuition it would be silly not to take advantage of that.
oh yeah, still in boston. still love it. i actually moved into a part of boston called the navy yard. right on the water, across the charles river from the north end of boston. absolutely love my neighborhood. i hang out with solemndragon once a week, and we still get in the odd game of warcraft here and there.
the music thing has been keeping me very busy. earlier in 2010 i had my first placement in an independent film soundtrack. this year will see my second (a documentary) the filmmaker producing the documentary has produced a couple behind the scenes shorts that include 2 cuts from the latest record. i'm trying to raise some money to get the new record pressed on vinyl. and i'm also going back to the studio to record 2 new songs at the end of february (one of them is for a compilation called "singularity" put out by glidescope records). yeah i love the studio, and my friend who owns the studio i use is awesome. the place is very very nice. i am also writing another record that i hope to have out before the end of this year. i've been debating shopping this future record to labels. that's still a long way away. also probably going to be working on a big secret project for the studio, which could be very interesting. i'd like to get another one or two film deals cooking this year.
i also have been getting back into design work. a couple weeks ago i won a design competition put on by mylene sheath records to design the test pressing cover art for one of their bands. i also just finished doing the cover art for an LP for this other label. what's cool is, both covers are hand silk screened. so doing the designs had to be executed with that in mind, very cool stuff.
let's see, other stuff. about a year and a half ago my lactose intolerance has become a full blown dairy allergy so i'm 100% vegan now. it's not bad at all actually. what else? i'm not dating, i enjoy being by myself, i enjoy living like a monk (as a friend actually observed not long ago) actually, and i do. i keep very busy, i do get to see friends here and there (like i said, hang out with solemndragon once a week, and other friends every couple weeks or so.) i get home from work and i get to work on writing music, producing demos for the songs i'm working on, work on other web development projects (keep my skills sharp) school, the day job. yeah there are very few actual idle hours during the week.
so yeah things are not horrible.
Nearly Two Years?
yikes. so yeah not dead.
just wanted to drop a quick update for folks who never made the "migration" that i've been pretty busy with the music stuff. spent the last year and a half writing and recording (in a proper studio) a record that was just released earlier this month.
it's nothing earth shatteringly new, more instrumental post-rock, but i got more ambient with it (which is really where i'm going musically)
yeah just more output, another contribution to the noisy attention-whoring part of the internets.
release info: http://skyflyingbymusic.org/
yeah i'm going to try to not neglect this place for as long.
oh for the love of all that is holy... who puts the "write in journal" link at the _bottom_ of the screen? i see /. is sucking as much if not more than usual.
hello folks. i know i'm not around here much... but i just wanted to drop a quick update.
a new record was just released, 6-song CD "how much more difficult will this get?" its also available through itunes, amazon mp3 (you can also get the CD through amazon), and shortly be available through rhapsody, emusic and amie street.
the record will also come out on vinyl later this spring (colored vinyl of course.)
i'm also working on another sky flying by record as well. this one will be themed, and will come with a collection of short stories written by solemndragon (that accompany the songs).
i've been recording a lot lately and the next record will most likely be tracked partially and mixed (almost completely) at a local studio.
i've also been working on another music project that just started, an actual band. i've been working with a friend of mine, and we've been writing a few things here and there, mostly instrumental post-rock-ish type of stuff. we plan to do some gigging and recording probably this summer.
well, if you are really interested in checking out the latest stuff, just head to my sfb blog (http://www.skyflyingbymusic.org/)
ok, until next time :)
i just wanted to pop in here, i haven't forgotten about the folks here :)
Sky Flying By Updates
i haven't been around here in a long long while. i may post an update here. things are very difficult and just plain bad and have been for some time.
for that i've been quite busy with my music project. i'm actually working on a full blown record (which will be released on CD and 12" vinyl, as well as through Snocap.)
So, just to keep whoever is around here a heads up, i have setup a bit of a blog with links to music that i've been producing lately.
there is also a 3-song CD EP i released as well.
here are some links:
SFB on t61: The SixtyOne
i've engaged in this record project just so that i have something to look forward to. something i can do to keep my mind busy, and for no other real reason. its therapy, plain and simple.
i started the blog to just kind of document the process of making this record. post rough cuts of songs that may end up on the finished product and so on.
yes, i'm having vinyl pressed, but in a very limited run, 300-500 only. i just love records and have gone on at length as to why (in the blog and on my multiply site).
so that's that. if you ever wanted to follow the (very often boring) making of a small independent record by a small nothing artist, now's your chance.
[SFB] Link Updates
i've been posting over at multiply pretty regularly, mostly my inane music crap. so, i thought i'd update the journal here with the links i've been posting (you know, for those who: a. care, b. haven't gone to mulitply).
1. Lifes Whatever
-. Forget I Am Here
o. Dragons Song
there will be more. i just wanted to keep this updated.
its weird, for some reason, all day today, i haven't been able to log into my multiply account.
i just get this error:
The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.
The proxy server could not handle the request GET /.
Reason: Could not connect to remote machine: Connection refused
i've sent them a few emails, but haven't heard anything back yet. the site works when i'm not logged in.
oh well, i wanna play with the new toys :(
anyone else see this today?
This Week and The Multiply
with all of the weird craziness of the last few months, working on ol' mitt's web site, i decided i'd take a week off when things got quiet. well, that was this week. i've spent the entire week not at work. oh sure, i checked email and even did some emergency support stuff (last night when the hosting provider decided to change firewall rules and blocked out the entire world).
but aside from that, it has been a quiet and relaxing week. didn't do a whole lot, puttered around the house, went to look at records yesterday but didn't find anything. spent some time leveling a blood elf i rolled in warcraft.
i upgraded pro tools to 7.3.1. i like the changes they made, except that upgrading meant blowing away all my midi settings, which meant that i had to go back and reassign a bunch of stuff to get my command|8 control surface to work again.
oh yeah, i did, for those that don't know, create a multiply site. do i think it will be a replacement for my journal here? i don't know. i actually think its impossible to say definitively if it can be or not. something like this has to be organic, and not so much planned and having any sort of expectation of multiply being the new "circle home" is, well, no one can say really.
so far i like multiply. it has a lot of very cool features. i love the interface. its easy, its modern, it has a lot of very useful utilities.
anyway, i think only time will tell if it is a replacement. i'm not in hurry to jump ship here, but i've also been around these parts for almost five years, and well, i like new things.
Earth Vs. Soup
bonus points to anyone who gets the reference
i like soup
i just sent:
To: [MR Development Team]
Subject: Re: dev server broke
i know what happened. someone, against my almost constant preaching, pleading, harassing and begging, decided to deploy site.properties from their local machine to the dev machine.
this makes the dev machine a sad panda
what should the appropriate punishment be for this flagrant abuse of a development environment?
Need a Gig?
any web developers, software engineers, designers out there reading this need a new gig and want to live in boston? send me an email.
the company i work for (molecular) is going through a rather rapid and extraordinary growth and is actively seeking new talent. in fact, we are holding a recruiting open house next tuesday. if you are in the boston area, and are interested in that, let me know.
but anyway, we are very actively seeking talent. basically we are a consultancy, we work with some of the biggest names in the world, and work with just about every technology under the sun.
you need to be flexible, personable, communicate well, articulate ideas clearly, provide good advice to clients, and be at the top of your game technology wise.
like i said, if you are looking for a gig, and want to be in boston, drop me a line. oh yeah, nyc and san fran also (we have offices there as well).
well, the site i worked on made cnn. cool. its been popping up in the media all over the place, and the general consensus is that its highly sophisticated and better than the competition. cool. i guess i'll take that as a job well done :)
now, if i could get the random null pointer exceptions to stop in one part of the system, that seem to be completely transient and only show up in the logs (thus my email) i'll be a happy camper.
Guitars, Slowing Down and Finding My Feet
with the launch of last week done, and the dust settling, and the money. holy crap, the money this site has raised in the less than a week its been live just staggers me. its gratifying in a lot of ways that i designed a stable system that has had to cope with a lot of external forces, and has come out like a champ each time.
i've been getting home before 8pm most nights now, and even got home last night around 6pm, enough time to hit the gym. finding my feet again at the gym was weird. i hadn't visited the gym in well over a month and smartly, i took it easy. did about 2.6 miles in 25 minutes.
what's also nice is being able to spend more time with solemn. its been tough on us both. my anxiety levels have been nearly red-lining for the last month or so, so when i have been home, its usually in a hyper-aware state, or completely crashed. my therapist (who is a psychiatric nurse) prescribed rozerem to help me shut down faster and therefore enable me to get much better sleep, which, we believe, was fueling or making my anxiety much worse. we haven't ruled out anti-anxiety meds yet.
its discouraging for me because in the past i could have easily handled the last two months and come out without a ding or a scratch. but my therapist and solemn remind me is that i've got a lot more on my plate now, and the mental and physical stress has a much more significant effect now than it ever would have in the past.
hmph. i still don't have to like it (for obvious reasons).
anyway, with some of the time i've been getting back, i've actually been able to pick up my guitar again as well. and this leads us to the music/guitar/gear-nerd portion of this journal.
as many of you know i rail against fake/modeled guitar tones (ala pod, and the likes) and as much as i like guitar rig 2, the overdriven/distortion tone are all so very fizzy, inarticulate and absolutely useless. guitar rig 2's rectifier does come close in some instances, but fails miserably once you start mixing it with other instruments.
well, through some tinkering about, i have come up with, what i think, is a damn fine solution for those who want *real* natural sounding tube distortion, without the whole being arrested or evicted (for those that don't know, the ideal tone one gets from an overdriven amp is when the tubes are pushed pretty hard and are running quite hot, and that is achieved by more power, thus more volume).
so, anyway i have a marshall jcm2000 head. probably the finest modern marshall head they've ever produced (basically a jcm800 with a second channel). the jcm800 is probably the best head marshall has ever produced.
well, i ran the speaker line out from the head into an attenuator (don't do this at home boys and girls unless you know exactly what the ohm-age of your amp is, or you will destroy your amp). i then ran the line-out of the attenuator into a tube-powered mic pre-amp. i then ran that line into pro tools, which i then routed that signal into guitar rig 2. i setup a very simple setup in guitar rig 2, i created a simple 4x12 cabinet (british model), "mic'd" it with a neumann u87, off axis. added the tube compressor and +5 gain modules, messed with a graphic EQ (only very slightly) and got a really decent tone. very "large" and "warm." very present without the usual harshness or fuzziness of other amp simulators (mostly because i'm not simulating an amp, i'm using the real thing).
i basically cranked the jcm2000, so the tubes were very very warm. i didn't get a chance to record anything with it yet, but so far i think its quite usable.
the biggest trap guitarists fall into is not actually knowing how a good guitar tone is captured. most think that what you hear from your amp is what shows up on tape. this of course is completely absurd. those that don't understand this will never have a good recorded guitar tone. that's why i usually laugh to myself when i hear a recording and the guitar is all fuzzy and inarticulate, its a very basic lack of understanding of how recording works. the idea is to back off on gain, push more power, back way the hell off of high-frequencies, and lean on the mid-low frequencies (or mid-range). using this exact thought process and bringing it into a fusion of modeled guitar tone (in my case modeling the cabinet and mic ONLY) and using a real amp (through an attenuator) can the apartment-close-quarters-friendly guitarist achieve yummy tone without totally faking it.
well, thankfully the client opted for a bit less of an event so that the launch went more quietly than we were originally lead to believe. this is actually a good thing.
i've been working 16 hour days for the last 3 weeks and put in nearly 60 hours during the holiday week. i'm ready for this to be done.
but, we launched today @ 4pm. so mitt romney filed his papers today and the exploratory part of the campaign begins, the site went live and boy did things get interesting.
it was an hour of total insanity. one of the web servers was mis-configured. i figured it out at the same time i was regenerating rsa keys because the ssl certificates were completely messed up.
the entire company was a buzz with the launch. we have much larger clients than this, but this one was special. since we had nothing to migrate and this was a completely new entity we literally flipped the switch to make the site go live, and it got hammered.
i am amazed, right now i'm watching the numbers grow.
the site though is behaving wonderfully, the architecture is standing up perfectly and things are operating as it should (after a few hours of frantic bug fixes due to insufficient uat, but in defense of the client, there just wasn't time for it at, not even a little).
i won't like to it, but you can probably guess the url if you wanted to see it. well, i got my dinner burning. hopefully tomorrow i'll get home before 8pm. these 12-16 hour days have gotten old and fast.
What Does a D-and-B Holiday Look Like?
so if you were ever curious, this is what a dragon/blinder christmas looks like. we just finished wrapping presents and i decided to bring out the digital camera... and of course felt obligated to share it with you (well, not obligated of course, you don't own me!!!)
heh anyway, we are debating if we should start muppets christmas carol (yes, we own it on dvd)
today was really nice though. first day off i've had in a long time... and we spent it doing some errands (i finished my shopping for the dragon). i spent the morning in boston, and man, i nearly had the place to myself. beat the crowds i guess.
oh, we saw eragon. it was pretty good for what it was, a rushed but interesting story with dazzling cg. we then went over to the whole foods and spent about $50 on a variety of cheeses and snacky things.
well, time to wrap it up. good night all.
A Sleepy Holiday
hello everyone. remember me?
yeah i haven't been around much. i just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very nice, pleasant and enjoyable holiday.
i'm nearing the end of the "big project" i've been working on. i think i put in 70 hours this week and now i'm just so tired. heh i even had the dragon at the office today. that was nice. she fell asleep in the big comfy chair i have. she was so good. really helped keep my stress level down, and she got to meet a few folks on the team as well.
when this site is launched i'll do a full write-up about it, heh mostly because i think its worth a full write-up.
anyway, i just wanted to drop a line and wish everyone a happy holiday.
Company Christmas Present
so the miserable bastards found me and decided to bestow on me a "christmas present" (my term, i have to put a silver lining on this thing).
my company has been bugging me for a while to "pick up my blackberry." well, i would just usually respond "oh yeah, ok, i'll um, get it later." i've managed to use that for the better part of six months. well, this morning, they came down with a sparkling new blackberry 8700g and had it already configured and set up. oh happy day! another device! another digital tether.
this device is stupidly complex. you wouldn't believe how much "stuff" this thing has... and well, i dunno... i can see its utility, but still man... why!?!
so, now i'm just another cog in the blackberry machine. in a form of protest, i have it clipped to the *inside* of my pocket and i shall never be so crass as to clip the darn thing to my belt. i've always hated that batman look anyway. unless of course they give me a grappling hook gun. then, i'll clip it to my belt.
oh well. i have to get back to work. i'm supposed to be in a meeting. i'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from a very cool movie ("swimming with sharks") "a meeting they can't start without is the only meeting worth going to."
hehehe... kevin spacey is the cool.
What's In The Red Folder?
anyway, like i was saying, we've lived in this place now for just over a year and there's something that has been bothering me.
in fact, it was just on this past thanksgiving that i shared this bewilderment with trmj and buffer-overflowed. trmj had a "meh" sort of attitude, but buffer, i think, quickly adopted my frustration.
and what frustration is that? what the fuck is in the red fucking folder!
since the day we moved in, this red folder has taunted us (er, well, maybe just me).
its there, gawking out that office window.
solemn has a theory, she believes it's contents is a list of people who have come around wondering what was in the red folder. i'm in inclined to agree with that theory, but until i know for sure, there will be a huge question mark in my mind.
for your extended consideration, i have uploaded a second photo so as to provide some context... a "bigger picture" as it were.
i mean, these pictures were taken out our front window (which i should say are 14' tall and expand 2/3 of the front of the loft we live in) so its not like its this little tiny insignifcant "thing." this is huge! damnit! what is in that folder? does the person in that office ever wonder whats in it? do they ever use it? can they even see it? can you see it? i know buffer could. it intrigued him, as if he fell under some kind of spell. is it a magic folder? ethelred? did you conjur this folder as part of your world dominiation plan? i need answers people! and fast.
Texas Is The Reason
i need to start this off by saying that texas is the reason is quite possibly one of my all time favorite bands. period. if someone told me i had to choose, it would be a three way tie between jawbreaker, texas is the reason and samiam (pronounced "sam i am")
don't know who they are? well if you listen to independent rock, emo, post-hardcore (btw, emo and post-hardcore are NOT the same thing), then you know who they are (or at least their sound) because they've influenced damn near every act that's followed them. they formed in the early nineties, recorded a couple 7"'s (which i have) then in '96 came out with their lp.
its tough to say this about any band's lp, but there isn't a single bad song on the record, "do you know who you are?" not a single dull or lack-luster moment on the entire record which ends way too quickly. 9 songs of brilliance.
they toured the us and europe and then called it quits. their absence has been felt, and they left a big huge gaping hole in the post-hardcore world when they departed the scene. well, this past week saw a reunion show (actually two) in their hometown, and while sadly i wasn't there, there are some decent write-ups here and here.
let me say, that this band is not for those who like glamor or spectical, or shredding. they aren't for the cynical starving for clever irony. no, texas is the reason is, i hate to say it, pure, simple, all emotion, naked, nothing hiding, what you see is what you get.
the first time i saw them, i was awe struck. my junior year in college. i don't remember who else was playing that sunday afternoon, but when texas took the stage and started playing, the crowd just surged... not a dry eye in the place by the end of their set. it was one of those rare (very rare) events where a hardcore show on a sunday afternoon was more like a mass group therapy session being led by the band. i remember after the set, because i was a writer for a few well-known zines of the time, i'd wander around to the back to grab some quick interviews with the bands... i had originally wanted to get an interview with texas, but all i could muster was a "thank you" and a hand shake with the singer garrett. i snapped a few pictures (long since lost) and went on my way.
having went through all this, if you have the time, do check them out. do i think they'll be doing a real reunion? recording another record? i really don't think so. part of me wishes they would, but another part of me is thankful for what they produced and we'll leave it at that.
[Programming] Child/Sibling: Possible Approach
well, as i said in this journal entry i think i do have a solution. and here it is, its called the nested set model.
there's a decent description of it here
the reason i am still a little hesitant is that the concept still isn't 100% clear for me. the concept of "left" and "right" is a bit fuzzy. i'm going to actually play around with it... but the nice thing is, in the above article, all of our use cases are represented. so, i'm a work with it and see if its a fit.
[Programming] Child and Sibling Data
heh, sam, this may be something you want to think about, this is a real-world problem i am having to solve... well, i think i have a solution, but i want to run it through the je machine to see if someone else has any ideas.
here's the problem in a nut shell. we've got two (database) tables:
they basically have this kind of structure:
/* ... bla other meta-data-like fields */
pageid int (fk)
so, the concept is that we store pages in the system, and that we'll have N number of page "types" (different combinations of elements like headlines, body copy - we don't want to couple ourselves to a specific set of fields, which is why we have PageElements).
the problem is that we may have pages that have nested elements. for example, lets say a page has a "tab box" a div container that has little navigable tabs at the top, which are controlled by content managers. they can create tabs, and then add items to that particular tab for display.
well, the front end needs to know how to render the display, and therefor needs to know the relationship of the various elements. that being the case, we have two types of data relationships.
those with have clear parent/child such as the following data structure:
so, as you can see... there is a parent/child relationship with the tabs, which is being handled by the 'parentid' column on the 'PageElements' table, and our data objects accomodate nesting (which gets messy because we have to examine the data type and determin if we need to "reach further in").
as convoluted as the code will get to handle that, its actually an easy problem. the tougher one is that of siblings ('Special-Message-x') in the above example page structure.
the problem is that we need to create that kind of relationship in the database so that the front end knows it needs to iterate through a 'Special-Message' object, and that means when we collect all of the page's elements, to treat those as siblings, not as individual elements.
i do have an idea of how this may work, but i don't want let the cat out of the bag quite yet in that i'm not completely satisfied that i like it (no, i'm not thinking of storing xml in the database, ugh), meaning, i'm open to other suggestions. i'm the architect on this project so its pretty much up to me to nail this down and anything i say goes on this.